Jesus said, in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name? Didn’t we expel demons in your name? Didn’t we perform many miracles in your name?’ Then I will tell them to their faces, “I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!” (Complete Jewish Bible)
The scripture implies that the group of people described will be surprised that they are not going to be allowed to enter heaven, instead being sent to hell for eternity. The MANY are not the lost who didn’t know Jesus, but people who have performed miracles and even cast out demons in His name. People who believed they were saved. This scripture should cause uneasiness in our souls because it states that there will be “MANY” of these people on that day. How is that possible? Where does each of us stand?
I believe that the key phrase in this scripture is the one stating that the only people that will enter heaven are: “those who do what my Father in heaven wants.” Jesus stated in John 5:19 “Therefore, Jesus said this to them: ‘Yes indeed I tell you that the Son cannot do anything on His own, but only what he sees the Father doing; whatever the Father does, the Son does too.” (CJB) Both of these scriptures speak of submission, Lordship and death to self-rule in one’s life. Am I saying that we have to DO something to be saved? Certainly not! Ephesians 2:8-9 “For you have been delivered by grace through trusting, and even this is not your accomplishment but God’s gift. You were not delivered by your own actions; therefore, no one should boast.” (CJB)
To resolve what some may consider a conflict, we must ask ourselves if doing what the Lord wants is “works,” contributing to our salvation – or is “doing what the Lord wants” actually the manifestation of our submission to Him, death to self and evidence of our salvation? Clearly, it is the latter. Works cannot contribute to our salvation, but according to scripture, along with evidence of submission to the lordship of Christ, they do authenticate it.
There are those who, after hearing and considering the message of Christ, develop a deep shame of their sinful past and present life. Their shame is an indication that they have an understanding of how God sees them and what Christ has offered them. They may weep openly, crying out to God for His grace and mercy. He trades their shame for joy. Their deep feelings of gratitude and indebtedness toward Him are clearly evident and they easily submit to His will. In submission to His lordship, they have the mind of Christ which manifests itself as an “All consuming passion to bring others to Christ” (Thanks for the saying Pastor John). They are selfless and the need to share what they now have is truly a consuming fire.
What was the disciples’ attitude toward the covenant of salvation? Phil 2:12-13 “So, my dear friends, just as you have always obeyed when I was with you, it is even more important that you obey now when I am away from you: keep working out your deliverance (salvation) with fear and trembling, for God is the one working among you both the willing and the working for what pleases him.” (CJB) That certainly doesn’t sound like they thought they had a prepaid ticket. The term “Keep working out your salvation” seems to imply that Paul wanted them to be preoccupied with ensuring that their end of the contract was being fulfilled at all times.
My pastor, John Fichtner, has stated that “The most heinous thing that one human being can do to another is to give them a false assurance of heaven.” The horrible outcome of that crime against another human being can be an eternity in hell. Hosea 4:6 says “My people are destroyed from a lack of knowledge.” His words are applicable to those who have no scriptural knowledge of the requirements of the covenant of salvation; yet they consider themselves saved because of what someone else has told them.
Is someone who has walked an aisle, thinking they have bought a ticket for some future event, really saved or have they been given a false assurance? Does it matter? My spirit says it does! We must ALL ask ourselves if our salvation is authentic. We are saved if our faith is truly genuine. The question is, is it truly genuine? Are we fulfilling our contractual requirements that clearly demonstrate our faith is truly genuine? What will WE hear when we meet Jesus face to face? Do you want to go to that meeting unprepared, believing what someone else said about the covenant (contract) of salvation, or do you want to read it yourself while there is still time?